The first album from UK trio Morass of Molasses has definitely been one encounter we have here been keenly anticipating, almost from the day the band first stepped forward with a couple of senses infesting, psyche twisting tracks. Their fusion of doom, sludge, and stoner bred textures served in a swamp of aural filth just fed all the instincts and continued to through their debut EP a few months after. Now we have These Paths We Tread to devour, an album which we will admit had us a touch unsure initially.
Instantly enjoyable, These Paths We Tread still had thoughts crowding to contemplate its new proposal of sound. Morass Of Molasses has lured their music from the filth infested depths of the swamp into a cleaner yet still aurally clinging landscape. That is not to say that it does not still come with a healthy coating of scuzz and doom lined dirt but it is a lumbering trespass of sound which is almost more celebratory than predatory. Quite simply their sound has matured, grown up even, and hindsight through listening back at certainly that last EP, So Flows Our Fate, shows it was an evolution on the cards even back then. To be honest we miss the filth but it has not stopped These Paths We Tread through time and listens blossoming into one seriously striking encounter loaded with the potential of even greater adventures ahead with the threesome of vocalist/baritone guitarist Bones ‘The Beard’ Huse, lead guitarist Phil ‘The Mountain’ Williams, and drummer Chris ‘The Beast’ West.
These Paths We Tread gets off to a mighty start with My Leviathan, its gentle caresses of melody and atmospheric waves a deceptive coaxing into the waiting jaws of colossal riffs and flirtatiously tangy grooves. Settling into a predacious crawl entwining raw causticity with salacious seduction, the song roams ears and imagination like a primal siren. Bones’ raw throaty roars share pure toxicity at times, his hostile tones matched by the punchy rhythms of West but tempered by his own calmer vocal tempting and the sonic web cast by Williams. Continually twisting through an array of perpetual incitement on ears and appetite, the track is glorious, its emerging funkiness icing on the feral cake.
Recent times has seen MOM tear into stages alongside the likes of Orange Goblin, Ohhms, Vodun, Elephant Tree, Desert Storm, Space Witch, Sea Bastard, Gurt, and Limb among many others, and there are essences of a few of these within second track So They Walk. Its grooves seep Orange Goblin/Kyuss like taunting whilst its irritable side has a Sleep like causticity, all merged into a distinct MOM recipe and a track like its predecessor which hits the spot with relish.
Continuing themes of “mythic sin and ancient archetypes”, album and next up Serpentine lyrically and musically bind the listener in evocative textures. The third track winds around ears with a dexterity and sonic adeptness emulating its title, grooves almost slithering across the imagination as rhythms bite. Bones’ warm if emotionally deceitful vocals contrast the underlying volatility of the track superbly, also erupting at times to spark a sonic wave fuelling greater weight and intensity throughout. It is a bewitching affair, not as instantly gripping as the first pair of songs but blossoming with every listen into an instinctive temptation before the brief incantation of The Ritual lures and the haunting presence of Centralia descends. A weave of stoner bred enterprise lined with provocative shadows and ghostly whispers as infectious rhythms drive a rolling canter, the second of the two is a well of suggestion coloured by the skilful adventure of Williams on guitar strings.
Next up Maenads is a psychosis of drama and sound, simultaneously enthralling and threatening with seduction and primal toning. It is fair to say, as the album, the track grows and infests deeper into the psyche with every taking of its inflamed intoxication; its melodic anaesthetic fascinating and feral instincts tantalising before things end with Wrath Of Aphrodite, a song which maybe did not quite spark the passions as richly as its companions yet has body and appetite for more bouncing to its groove woven, heavily boned rock ‘n’ roll.
Certainly for fans of the band, These Paths We Tread will maybe need time to grow and develop on ears and thoughts though newcomers will find Morass of Molasses a quick persuasion we are sure. Yes we still miss the filth but the album blossoms into something thickly compelling and increasingly pleasurable; how stupid of us to doubt with those first thoughts.
These Paths We Tread is out now through HeviSike Records in various formats @ https://morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com and http://www.hevisike.com/product/morass-of-molasseslp
Pete RingMaster 24/05/2017
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